How proptech young guns Catalano and Hywood are reinventing the game

How proptech young guns Catalano and Hywood are reinventing the game

Melbourne-based young entrepreneurs Jordan Catalano and Tom Hywood have well and truly established themselves as mainstays in the proptech world.

Property and marketing is in the blood of these young guns who are the sons of former Domain boss Antony Catalano and Fairfax CEO Greg Hywood.

Under their umbrella company AD Group, Catalano and Hywood have cornered many significant sectors in the developments space with their successful platforms Apartment Developments and Apartment ID.

With their fingers on the pulse of Australia's ever-changing property trends, the pair have recently launched a new house and land marketing platform: House and Land Developments.

The new platform aims to make finding the perfect house, land or package easier for consumers while giving developers and home builders a cost effective marketing tool. The pair believe they are onto a winner despite the property market becoming softer and more complicated each day.

Business News Australia spoke with the co-founders about current trends in the property world, how they've succeeded with each other's help and the future of proptech.

Tell me about this new platform What major pain points does it solve for marketing professionals?

TOM: What we've found is having a vertical that catered purely to one portion of the market tends to be a preference for clients. With a lot of the major portals, the open plan market, tends to be an afterthought. So it's given those segments of the market their own website.

What was the inspiration behind the creation of the platform?

TOM: Well the inspiration behind it was coming from Apartment Developments, so our success with Apartment Developments, and the market there, and also how the market is shifting a little bit towards the house and land space.

That's not to say that the apartments aren't still a very popular option to investors, first home buyers, downsizers, but there's a real boom in the house and land sector.

Being able to see that demand through what we see the market through feedback from our clients who are in both the house and land and apartment space it really seemed like a great idea for us.

You guys have been pretty busy with Apartment Developments and Development ID and now this new platform. What's your secret to juggling all these different obligations?

JORDAN: I think we've built the business so there's a lot of synergies between the two.

We are dealing with a lot of the same people and a lot of the same buyers handle the accounts for those on Apartment Developments and House and Land Developments so luckily there are synergies between the two.

But I think the development market is slightly different but we have set up systems where we can feed certain properties in to both portals as well.

Jordan, you've been an entrepreneur for a while now. What was your first venture and how have lessons learned helped you to get to this point?

JORDAN: I've done a number of things since I was quite young.

Probably the most serious of them was when I was out of school and I set up a distribution business for magazines which is still going today.

I think majority of the learnings have come from apartment developments and newer portals that we've started.

We're certinaly dealing with a lot more clients than we have with other businesses so it's an ongoing curve, you learn more every day.

Both Apartment Developments and Apartment ID are still quite young but have seen considerable success already. What was your secret to growing them so fast?

TOM: A really key factor to the growth of the business has been just establishing really strong relationships in the industry.

Obviously we provide a really strong product which informs all our clients so that is probably first and foremost the most important thing when it comes to actually building a business like ours.

However, the actual secret to growing success or spreading was on Apartment Developments and then establishing strong relationships with industry figures and we've been able to give them feedback give them market insights.

I would say from my perspective definitely having a very strong performing product and a solid story to tell behind who we are and what the business is and then also just establishing really strong relationships within the industry.

As co-founders you must bounce off each other and motivate each other quite a lot. Do you think these projects would've been as successful if either of you decided to go it alone? Why do you think you two work together so well?

TOM: I believe our friendship is a very important thing to both Jordan and I. we have a lot of history in terms of how long our friendship's been going for, with our fathers being close friends and business partners.

JORDAN: I don't think it would've been successful if we'd gone it alone.

We both have pretty different skill set so we bounce ideas off each other and have a different perspective; Tom's more sales focused I'm more the building offering which is pretty useful when we're coming up with concepts because we both have a different outlook.

The property market nationally has been pretty firey - what are some trends we'll be seeing in the next year-ish in the sector?

JORDAN: From a development perspective there's much more of a focus on accountability now, there's a lot more accountability on publishers.

Thankfully developers are wanting to push boundaries a bit more and do things a little bit differently with types of projects.

The developers are doing something much more different and certainly much more remarkable.

TOM: There's a shift towards developing more for that downsizing market for people with equity rather than first home buyers.

Once again that's not to say that the investor and first home buyer market is dissipating, however there certainly is a shift towards downsizing markets. Developers are actually building for that demographic.

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